'Operation Southern Shield' set to kick off a week long enforcement operation

Georgia is one of five states taking part in Operation Southern Shield (Credit:Robert Catanese)

Operation Southern Shield is a product of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. 2018 marks the second annual event that will include law enforcement officials from Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee.

Roger Hayes is the Law Enforcement Director for the GOHS.

“The ultimate goal for anything we do is to save lives,” he said.

Last year, there were 12,500 speeding citations handed out, 552 suspected DUI drivers and 472 felony arrests during the entire week. According to preliminary numbers from the Georgia Department of Transportation, the number of traffic deaths reported in the state during last year's Southern Shield was 35 percent lower than the other three weeks of July.

Lieutenant Clay Kicklighter with the Georgia State Patrol said troopers will be out in full force.

“There are too many people that are dying on our roadways. Last year, there were over 1,500 people that stepped into eternity from fatal car crashes,” he said. “The state patrol will be in a concentrated effort with our local partners, our municipal agencies that we work with.”

Starting Monday, July 16 and running until Sunday, July 22, officials are hoping this crackdown will save lives and raise highway awareness.

“We want you to visit Georgia and visit our other states, but we want you to be able to do it safely and get back home and continue your life,” said Hayes. “Just buckle up slow down. Don't drive distracted, and don’t drive while impaired.”

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